O-theism is Religion-less Religious-ness.

It is the No Religion of Whole religion.

O-theism is the understanding that there is no God separate from existence. It is the understanding that God is the Beingness which is experienced when one is at-one knowingly with the whole of existence.

It is the understanding that this Beingness is the potential of all human beings and that it is the identification with a fictitious entity (ego) which prevents the realization of this potential.

O-theism is the understanding that there have been many masters who have attained that Beingness and have expressed that experience in the language and culture in which they lived. Their experience is One but their expressions are many.

It is the perennial philosophy. It is the Heart of the teachings of all the Awakened Masters including Krishna, Lao Tzu, Mahavir, Mohammed, Zarathustra, Guru Nanak, Buddha and Christ.

O-theism is the religion-less of the Sufis, Tao, Advaita, Tantra, Yoga and Zen.

It is the religious-ness of Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi, Meher Baba, Krishnamurti and Osho.

O-theism is the religion of Enlightenment.

It is the ground in which Theism, Atheism and Deism dissolve.

O-theism is the end of theism. It is All-theism and No-theism, hence O-theism.

Prayer by Shankarcharya – Vimala Thakar

Translation & Commentary by Vimala Thakar

Pratah smarami hridi samsphura ta twam
Satchitsukham paramahansa gatim turiyam
Yat swapna jagara sushupta mavaiti nityam
Tad brahma nishkalamaham na cha bhuta sanghaha.

In the morning as I meet the dawn, I remember that my heart contains the God, the Beloved, who has not yet been defined and described. I remember that it is He who vibrates within my heart, enables me to breathe, to talk, to listen, to move. When I am thus aware, that it is He who lives and moves within me, then the three phases of consciousness, jagrat, swapna, sushupti : wakefulness, dreaming, and profound sleep, they are transcended into turiya, the fourth dimension, which is behind the wakefulness, the dream-consciousness, and the sleep-consciousness.

When I thus remember, that the underlying current behind the wakefulness, the dream, and the sleep-consciousness is He, who lives and moves within me, then that awareness gives me sat chit sukham, the flavor of the truth, the reality, and the bliss that is the nature, the basic primary nature of life.

Sat chit sukham. When I am always thus aware of the real nature of life, then I arrive at paramahansagatim turiyam. I arrive at a state of being that has been called by the ancient wise Indians “Paramahansa”, a swan that swims through the waters of duality. That is how a sanyasi is called a paramahansa, one who lives in the renunciation of that austere awareness that it is not he who lives, as separate from the universe, but that he is only an expression of the universal.

The state of paramahansa is the state where a person is aware that he is not a conglomeration of sense organs and only the five elements, but he is the nishkala Brahman, the supreme Brahman, the divinity, who has taken the dense form of a mind and a physical body.

Pratara bhajami manaso vachasam agamyam
Vacho vibhanti nikhila yadanugrahena
Ya neti neti vachanaih nirgama avochu
Tamdeva devam ajam achyutam ahuragryam

But my mind, when I am awake, needs some work to do. It cannot remain without movement. So I give it a job. “Pratara bhajami manaso” – by the mind – “vachasam agamyam” – by the mind I move. On the frontiers of the mind I give the mind a job to explore that which lies beyond its own frontiers, that which is not accessible to the word, to the speech, as well as to the mind.

My mind asks me, “How shall I do it?” And I ask the mind to travel back, through the word, to the source of the word, the sound, and find out how the sound is born. I ask my mind to travel with the breath, to go inside: with the breath to travel. That is the only way you can find out how the sound is born, because breath and sound are woven together.

All speech and all sound is a blessing of that unspoken, unstruck sound. And unless one discovers the source from which all sound is born, one shall never set oneself free from the power of the word, that intoxicates and distorts the mind; that intoxicates the mind and sweeps it off its balance.

All the Upanishads and the Vedas have been searching for that source of sound. That source of breath. They arrived only at two words: na iti, na iti: it is “not this”, it is “not this.” So even the Vedas arrive at the point where nothing can describe and define. The source can only be experienced, the source can only be perceived and understood, but never defined and described. That is how the mind becomes silent. Not because I ask it, but while it is searching for the source of its own activity it takes a dive deep into silence, where the mind becomes the no-mind, where the knowing becomes the not-knowing.

Then I understand that silence is the only speech through which life speaks, and I feel blessed when I am in that silence.

Pratarnamami tamasah param arkavarnam
Purnam sanatana padam purushottamakhyam
Yasminnidam jagadashesham ashesamurtau
Rajjuam bhujangama iva pratibhatitam vai.

But then comes the body. It wants to do something. To worship, to admire, to adore. So I give it a job. I ask my body to bow down before the light of the earth, the sun, who dispels darkness from all the corners of the earth. And I ask my body to expose itself to that darkness dispelling sun – ask it to find out how that sun enters into the body through the doors of the eyes, and through the pores of all the veins and nerves, every pore of my being. I want my body to find out which are the avenues through which the light is received.

And when the body says, “It is the eyes through which the light enters,” I say, “Find out how the eyes can see the light. Is the light outside the eyes, or is it inside?” With the help of the mind, the body travels inward, to find out the source of the light.

And it discovers that it is not a blind person who can receive the light from outside. He who has an eye can receive the light. So that which receives the light is greater than the light seen from outside.

So I arrive at the source of light within me. And the awareness of that light dispels the illusion – the illusion and the fear that a man experiences when he sees “rajo bhujangama” : when he sees a rope in the darkness and he mistakes that for a snake, a cobra. I had mistaken the rope of duality for the snake and cobra of misery and sorrow. But the light dispels the darkness and I see that the duality is only a rope that cannot bind me in any way unless I bind myself with it.

That light is the purushottam, that is sanatana – eternal. Purnam – that is perfect. The perfect eternity. The God divine. That is really my nature. I had mistaken the tensions of duality to be me, but then the light dispels all the darkness, and I get rooted back into the ajam, the aychutam – that which can never be swept off its feet. Ajam – that which was never born, and can never die. I am that.

This is the prayer composed by Shankaracharya, the majestic exponent of the philosophy of non-dualism, vedanta or advait. This was sung by Vivekananda very often, and it is really on this prayer that Vivekananda’s “Song of Sanyasin” is based, where he sings, in great ecstasy:

They know not truth who dream such vacant dreams
As father, mother, children wife and friend –
The sexless Self, whose father, whose mother is he?
The self is All in All,
None else exists, and thou art that,
Sanyasin bold, say ‘Om Tat Sat Om’.

Where seekest thou that freedom?
This world nor that can give you.
Thine only is the hand,
That holds the rope that drags thee on.
Then cease lament, let go thy hold!
Sanyasin bold! Say ‘Om Tat Sat Om!’

-Vimala Thakar
Hunger Mountain, MA, October, 1972

Here is a link to an audio recording of Vimalaji chanting part of the above prayer.   Prayer by Shankarcharya – Vimala Thakar

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

To read more of Vimala Thakar see:  https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/vimala-thakar/

The Challenge of Emptiness – Vimala Thakar


Vimala Thakar on the Spiritual Emancipation of Women
an interview by Shanti Adams

Shanti Adams: This morning I would like to talk with you about women in relationship to spiritual liberation.
In the course of the last ten years I have been part of a community of men and women who are students of spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen. We have been trying to live, together in a mixed community, what we have learned through being with him and through practicing and studying his teaching. Initially, the people who joined this community did not attach any particular importance to being either male or female. Speaking for myself, I was never drawn to women’s movements. I was just interested in the truth. I’m not a feminist and I’m not an antifeminist either. I have no doubt that real freedom transcends nationality, transcends religious bias and also transcends gender.

At first there didn’t seem to be any particular differences in our community between male and female conditioning when it came to spiritual practice or liberation. But over time, deep differences between male and female conditioning seem to have emerged. And this doesn’t seem to be just an individual matter; each sex as a group seems to have its own distinct conditioning.

Let me give you an example. Really trying to live these teachings requires an ability to observe one’s conditioning, habits, and tendencies clearly—or objectively—and to actually transcend them or be free of them. One thing that is beginning to emerge is that women often have difficulty with that kind of objectivity. For example, when a tendency or habit is revealed, women often take it more personally and in some cases will initially be defensive. They tend to feel hurt and they seem to have more difficulty than the men not being distracted by their emotional response to what has been seen. The men don’t seem to get quite so distracted by their fear or their pride, and they seem to be more interested in just looking objectively at whatever it is that they may be facing. This tendency to take things personally, and therefore to defend themselves, seems to be something that the women in particular are coming up against.

Vimala Thakar: The objectification of the inner psychological life is extremely difficult for women.

Woman has had a role to play in human history. She has been the wife, the mother, the sister, protected by others, especially by men. In India the Hindu religion says woman is always to be protected—in childhood by the father, in young age by the husband, and in old age by her son. It is said that she does not deserve freedom. That is the basic principle. And I feel that perhaps in other countries also she has had only one role to play. It is a secondary role, protected by the male, and she did not require objectivity. As a subjective person she always has to react. Man has to act, man has to earn; she has to take care. In this secondary role, she never lived for herself as a human being. She lived for the parents, for the husband, for the children, for the family. The family institution has survived at the cost of woman. So the inner freedom of objectifying her own emotions or perceiving the situation entirely objectively is very difficult for women, very difficult. And man finds it easy, objectification. But it is very difficult for men to transcend their egos. Woman, through emotional strength and emotional integrity can go beyond the ego easier than man. Man can objectify more quickly and easier than woman.

There are certain limitations because of the role that man and woman have played in human history and civilization. The woman immediately withdraws into her own shell to protect her emotions, her reactions, everything.

SA: Yes, I recognize that.

VT: In India women have been prescribed the yoga of devotion, bhakti yoga. In identifying with a god, a goddess, an idol, or a guru, all the emotional strength and vitality is consumed so it doesn’t trouble her in other human relationships. But that is not so all over the world. And in many places man and woman live together, which rarely happens in India. Even in ashrams in India men and women live separately. They come together only for prayers and for meditation in the presence of the teacher. But visiting each others’ rooms and discussing things together—the kind of thing that takes place in other countries—has not yet come to India. So in India they may not have the problem you describe.

In your situation, men and women are on an equal footing. They are trying to understand the teachings and live together. So they will have to go through their different conditionings, conditionings that are not consciously adopted, but are inherited.

It is so true, you are so correct when you say that women withdraw into psychological isolation very easily. They feel that they can protect their feelings, their observations, that way. And that’s a defect because that withdrawal, that retiring or retreating into their shell, prevents them from assimilating the essence of the teachings. They have to accept the world, they have to accept whatever happens in their interactions and be there.

SA: Yes, exactly.

VT: They will have to face attachment also. Without the context of the family, with men and women living together, the biological phenomena of attraction and repulsion are there. You cannot ignore or deny it. So that attraction or repulsion gets expressed in relationship. Like-minded people have come together, and their quest is the same, but after all they are human animals. The animality is there, the instinctive part is still there. It has to be transcended through meditation, but that duality is there. So woman and man have to go through this phenomenon of understanding the attraction, recognizing the attraction or the repulsion, even infatuation, and not accept it but go beyond it. Unless you recognize it you can’t go beyond it. So without feeling guilty, without making a fuss about it, without calling it a sin or a crime, one has to see it as it is.

SA: Precisely, yes. That’s very clear, and that, I think, is the challenge to women who are really serious.

VT: To both.

SA: To both, exactly. That is the challenge, yes. It’s interesting, Vimalaji, what you’re saying about something inherited just by virtue of being, as you said, protected. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. In the West, although this is changing, there is still the fundamental fact that women are the weaker sex. And there’s always this fear of exploitation and so on. I wonder whether an inability to trust, in the biggest sense of the word, has come from this. By trust I mean here a very fundamental trust in life, an ability to actually let go in order to be able to see things clearly for what they are, and not instinctively to defend.

VT: Shanti, besides the inheritance part, the psychological inheritance part, look at the biological factor. In the sexual relationship woman receives and man asserts. This cannot change, this biological factor in the sex life that leaves its imprint on the psychology. The residue of sexual relationship builds up the male psychology and the female psychology, unless one educates oneself in transcending the sex consciousness and the “I” consciousness, the ego, which go together. As long as the “I” consciousness is at the center you cannot escape the sex consciousness, the duality. That duality cannot be negated. It cannot be rejected, it cannot be ignored, it is there.

So besides the psychology of being protected, the receptive role of the woman has also been a handicap to her, and she has to go beyond it. And man has to go beyond that assertive psychology. What is true in the physical and the biological he extends to the psychological realm. There is a kind of assertiveness and domination without being conscious of it. It’s in the blood. So we have to go beyond the biological and the psychological facts and only then will living the nonduality that is the substance of truth become possible. This is a challenge for modern men and women who are exploring together, unlike in India where it is done separately. Doing it while living together requires much more fearlessness.

SA: Yes, that’s true.

VT: I congratulate those who go through these challenges. It is a challenge. There is no precedent for this. Nobody has an answer for it or a remedy. You have no prescriptions, norms, or criteria in any religion for the challenges you are asking about. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism have no answer because they have not faced it this way. There has been segregation. And now there is the segregation that comes about through the feminist movement. So when you say you are neither feminist nor antifeminist I feel very happy.

All the truths have not been verbalized. The last word in spirituality has not yet been said. Truth is infinite and there is hope for humanity because the human potential is inexhaustible. People will find remedies to these challenges, ways to meet these challenges.

SA: What you’re saying about it is very helpful, Vimalaji.

VT: I have seen the difficulties of women in the West, in Europe, in America and in Australia. I have met them. And they do not understand the harsh biological realities, the roles that they have had to play, the scars and scratches and the residue of memory that were left behind, which inhibit the psychology. They have to be conscious of it, recognize it and go beyond it.

SA: Yes, that seems to be the answer, becoming conscious of it. The recognition of it has to precede going beyond it. I think that’s why we are trying to open this up. Because we are beginning to see that there are limitations here that seem very deep, almost instinctive. They need to be penetrated in order for us to go further.

VT: Perception of bondage is the beginning of freedom.

SA: I’m very thrilled to meet you, Vimalaji, because it seems to me that there are very few women teachers like yourself who are teaching real liberation in the world. I haven’t met many. I’ve met more men, such as Krishnamurti and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. It seems that most of the women figures who are leaders in the arena of spirituality are kind of Divine Mother figures, and that’s very different. They’re apparently teaching unconditional love through the expression of who they are, in a sense. But there does not seem to be a real teaching of liberation there. So it’s very inspiring for me to meet someone like yourself who has actually transcended the conditioning that we are speaking about. It seems to me to be unusual.

VT: My dear, it is unusual because, for example in India, Hinduism says woman can never be liberated in a woman’s body. If she behaves, if she follows bhakti yoga, then she may be born again in a male body and then she will be liberated. Buddhists and Jains also never accept that a woman in a woman’s body can be emancipated. Nor do the Catholics accept it. So at best a woman becomes a mother figure, such as Anandamayi Ma, or this figure or that figure. And she teaches as the Mother, not as an emancipated person.

Shall I tell you something? I was visiting Los Angeles in 1968 and I was staying at Ramakrishna Mission. I was asked to give a talk to the inmates of the ashram but they said, “You cannot speak in the chapel because you are a woman. Only sannyasins [monks] can speak there, and a woman cannot be a sannyasin.” The Swamiji there was Swami Prabhavananda, who was a very powerful swami. He wrote books along with Christopher Isherwood on the Bhagavad Gita, and commentaries on the Gita. He knew J. Krishnamurti, and so on. He was a very fine person. I said to him, “Swamiji, excuse me. Will you please remove the photographs of Sarada Devi, Ramakrishna’s wife, from the chapel?” There were two photographs there. So I said, “Since you tell me that I cannot give an address in this chapel, I will not give an address. But, will you please remove those photographs?”

Even in Ramakrishna Mission there is a differentiation. So who will stand up against all this and assert the humanness concealed in woman’s body, the divinity concealed in woman’s body, and demand equality on that level—not just on the physical and psychological levels?

So it is unusual. But let us be thankful that it has happened here.

SA: Yes.

VT: It is something in the orbit of human consciousness. Whether it happens there or here is immaterial. But it can happen.

This person has been hurt in many ways by the ancient Hindu authorities. When I wanted to study the Vedas, the Brahma Sutras, in Varanasi, I went with folded hands to the authorities on the Vedas and they said, “No, a woman should not study the Vedas. What have you to do with the Vedas and the Brahma Sutras?” they said. “No, we won’t teach you.” “Alright,” I said, “I will study by myself.”

For a woman to be unconditionally and totally emancipated is something unacceptable at least to the Indian consciousness, and maybe to the non-Indian consciousness also. This differentiation has to go. There is differentiation that has to do with the body, with different kinds of limitations. But that doesn’t mean that woman is not entitled to liberation.

I am so glad that you are talking about this and that you are looking at the issue in this way. This challenge has to be met. Not aggressively—you don’t have to fight for it, you have to work for it.

SA: Yes, I feel that very strongly because I’ve experienced within myself the very conditioning that we are talking about. And I can see that unless I can recognize this very deeply within myself I cannot transcend it. So I feel this is very important. I feel that it’s up to women individually to meet the challenge of being a woman and all the conditioning, as you were saying, that is biological, hereditary, psychological and so on. I think that’s what you mean by working for it, earning it.

VT: Have you discussed these matters with your teacher?

SA: Very much so. He’s incredibly observant and very passionately interested in each person’s liberation. And initially he had no concept of any differences between the conditioning of men and women. But then over time he was actually the first person to recognize in his female students what he called female pride.

VT: Oh yes, oh yes!

SA: So he was the first person to really get us to start looking at that ourselves. He’s very interested in this, and he’s also very concerned that his female students really meet this challenge. Because some of them are not interested. There is quite a lot of denial still going on among some of his students. But in others there is the recognition that there is something that we need to meet, to understand, to penetrate, in order to be free. There is an awakening to the fact that, as women, to really be able to live what we understand we need to come to terms with this. He’s encouraging all of us individually to really have the fire and the fearlessness and the humility to actually recognize this and to take it on.

VT: How nice.

SA: We were speaking earlier about women seeming to have a bit more difficulty than men being objective and impersonal. When things about themselves are pointed out to them, they often take it personally and defend themselves at first, taking time to come around to accepting what has been revealed, and then overcoming or transcending it. There sometimes seems to be an almost innate visceral response of defending, of protecting, of surviving and maintaining that operates in women. The reason I am saying this is because while I know that men have tendencies they have to face—male traits such as selfishness, aggression and even cowardice have been revealed in our investigation—the men do seem to be able to more easily accept the impersonality of their condition. They do not seem so proud or defensive about these negative tendencies. I was wondering whether underneath their defensiveness women have a deeper fear of nonexistence, a deeper existential insecurity or fear of emptiness, than men.

VT: Nothingness, nobodyness, emptiness—even the intellectual understanding of this frightens women. It frightens women! At the depth of our being there is fear because of our physical vulnerability, because of our secondary role in human civilization. It is in the subconscious, not in the consciousness. On a subconscious level there is fear. If I get converted into or if I mature into nonduality, into nothingness, into nobodyness, what will happen to my physical existence? Will it be more vulnerable? Will I be able to defend myself in case of difficulty, in case of some attack against me? That is a basic fear among women.

So women very rarely take to meditation. They take to devotion, to bhakti yoga. They can take to service, seva yoga or karma yoga. But not meditation, dhyana, samadhi. Consciously, intellectually they understand everything, because regarding the brilliance of the brain there is no distinction such as male and female. But psychologically, at the core of their being is this fear. And that fear has to be dispelled. Woman has to understand that nobodyness or nothingness, the emptiness of consciousness in samadhi or meditation, generates a different kind of energy and awareness which is more protective than self-conscious defensiveness. When woman appreciates that, when she understands that, then this fear will be dispelled. Otherwise it is very natural for a woman to feel frightened even by the idea of nothingness.

SA: It’s amazing, Vimalaji. Everything you say rings perfectly true to our experience. The areas women excel in are exactly what you have said—in service they are very strong, they give everything to help and to support. Physically and emotionally they are very, very giving. They will give everything and work very hard, very selflessly. So it’s very interesting what you say about women being naturally inclined to devotion and to service because that is exactly what is happening in our community. And yet on the other hand, as we have been saying, to really engage with meditation in the truest sense, to really let go into being nobody—many women are unwilling to do that.

VT: There is a subconscious resistance.

SA: Yes, exactly.

VT: They don’t find any resistance on the conscious level. They will say, “No, we do not resist,” and they are being honest. And yet at the deeper level of their being there is an unverbalized resistance.

SA: Exactly. That is exactly what is happening.

VT: That has to be perceived. That has to be recognized. Perhaps if the women recognized the resistance at the subconscious level, it might disappear, it might dissolve.

SA: Yes, that seems to be the only possibility. And I think some of us are just beginning to recognize that. I know, for myself, for many years my teacher pointed this out, and I said no. Because consciously I accepted and was thrilled by the idea of being nobody, by the concept of freedom that that means. But now I’m beginning to see that subconsciously there is a resistance which needs to be completely met in order to be truly free.

VT: To allow the divinity or the absolute truth to use your body, your brain, your mind for the service of humanity is one thing. “I want to serve and I get pleasure out of that service. I’m serving so and so, the cause or the individual.” There is pleasure in that. But to let go of that pleasure and allow the truth to shape your life, to mold it, to give it a direction and to use it for the cosmic purpose, requires tremendous fearlessness. And very few are willing to let go of the last noble pleasure for that.

It’s a noble pleasure to serve. You’re offering service and you’re offering your life and here is someone who says, “No. Not that, not the conscious service, the ‘I’ doing the service. No, not the ‘I’ devoting itself. You are again creating a different field for the survival of limitations. Let it go.” Then the resistance comes, the inhibitions come. Women begin to suffer. They don’t like it if you point it out, even on a conscious level. They hear it, but they don’t receive it. It doesn’t go in because of the subconscious resistance.

SA: Yes, that’s absolutely true.

VT: Oh, yes. One has seen it happening. One has seen it happen in people around you. The emptiness, the nobodyness, as you have rightly put it—that frightens them. Me doing the service, me giving, me working; that is O.K. Yes, we are dealing with the crux of the issue here. Hitting the nail on the head. Such merciless perception of truth, merciless analysis of the subjective world, is very rare to come across. People find it unbearable. Even the verbalization is unbearable to some.

SA: Yes, definitely.

VT: One has to go very slow. That during our first visit we could do that together is an exceptional occurrence. So I have to congratulate your teacher.

SA: Thank you.

VT: Thank you for raising these questions. You are the first person in the last ten years to raise these questions. Non-Indians come to me from at least twenty countries here. Women come from many different nations and discuss with me the problems of women in modern Western culture, but not the question you have raised this morning. It is from a very deep level that this question has come. I’m glad about it.

SA: Thank you. It’s been a fabulous opportunity to explore this together.

VT: For both of us to share. Life is fulfilled in sharing. Not only meals and clothes and money, but when you share your flesh and blood then there is a rare fulfillment.

It takes two to have a conversation, a dialogue. One person can’t do it.

Shanti Adams is a student of Andrew Cohen living in London, England. Her previous contribution to What Is Enlightenment?, “The Long and Winding Road” [July 1994], describes her many years as a spiritual seeker in India.

The entire article/interview can be found at:   http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j10/vimala_challenge.asp?page=1

I find it necessary to publish links to three postings on the What Enlightenment? blog that relates to this interview. Apparently Andrew Cohen used Vimala Thakar’s words to justify the mistreatment of the female members of his community and this was subsequently strongly condemned by Vimalaji. Below you can follow the links and read for yourself.


For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

To read more of Vimala Thakar see:  https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/vimala-thakar/

Awakening to Total Revolution – Vimala Thakar

Enlightenment and the World Crisis

Awakening to Total Revolution

In a time when the survival of the human race is in question, to continue with the status quo is to cooperate with insanity, to contribute to chaos. When darkness engulfs the spirit of the people, it is urgent for concerned people to awaken, to rise to revolution.

The cleverness of the human mind has led us to the complex, horrifying, and all-encompassing crisis that we now face. The familiar solutions, based on a limited view of what a human being is, continue to fail, to be pathetically inadequate. Yet we pour vast resources into these tired solutions and feel that if we achieve a grand enough scale, the old solutions will meet the new challenges. Do we have the courage to see failures as failures and leave them to the past? Do we have the vitality to go beyond narrow, one-sided views of human life and to open ourselves to totality and wholeness? The call of the hour is to move beyond the fragmentary, to awaken to total revolution.

The call is not to one of the revolutionary formulas of the past; they have failed—why drag them out again even in new regalia? The challenge now is to create an entirely new, vital revolution that takes the whole of life into its sphere. We have never dared embrace the whole of life in all its awesome beauty; we’ve been content to perpetuate fragments, invent corners where we feel conceptually secure and emotionally safe. We could have our safe little nooks and niches were it not for the terrible mess we have made by attempting to break the cosmic wholeness into bite-size bits. It’s an ugly chaos we have created, and we try to remedy the complicated situation with the most superficial of patched-together cures.

Today, with the scars of our past failures marring our existence and the fears of the future weighing heavily on our spirits, we can no longer go on with this dangerous game of fragmentation. We can no longer escape the fact that we are all bonded, equal in wholeness. Science and technology have brought each of us into intimate relationship with all others. We are truly a global human family. Yet as a family, we have not learned how to live together in peace, to live without violence and exploitation. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Bertrand Russell wrote: “Man knows how to fly in the air like a bird, he knows how to swim in water like the fish, but how to live among other human beings, he does not know.”

Penetrating to the Roots of Conflict

Even though our very survival is in question, we tend to look at the crisis superficially, emotionally, sentimentally. We have tried in subtle ways to absolve ourselves of any deep responsibility for the condition of the human family. We perceive ourselves, or our small identity groups, as truly sincere and peace-loving, and we ascribe to outsiders, to those apart, to power-hungry villains, responsibility for aggression and wars.

Yet as members of societies that are prepared for war, how can we set ourselves apart as peace-loving and the others as violent? This is, however, what we attempt to do. We see on the television or hear on the radio news about massacres and wars taking place in different countries, and we feel how stupid it is to wage war and wonder why the politicians and the statesmen don’t have the wisdom to stop all this nonsense. This is the reaction perhaps of every sensitive citizen of the world. But who wages war? Where are the roots of war? Are they in the minds of a handful of individuals ruling over their respective countries? Or are the roots of war in the systems that we have created and have been living by for centuries—the economic, the political, the administrative, the industrial systems? If we are not romantic and sentimental, and do not feel gratified just by reacting emotionally, by expressing how bad the wars are, but rather go deep, won’t we find the roots of war in the systems and structures that we have accepted?

We will discover that there are systems and structures that inevitably lead to aggression, exploitation, and war. We have accepted aggression as a way of living. We create and entrench ourselves in structures which culminate in wars. Retaining the structures and avoiding wars is not possible. You and I as individuals have to realize how we are responsible, how we cooperate with the systems and thereby participate in the violence and wars. And then we must begin to inquire whether we can discontinue cooperating with the systems, whether we can stop participating in wars, and explore alternative ways of living for ourselves.

We must go to the roots of the problem, to the core of the human psyche, recognizing that collective social action begins with action in individual life. We cannot separate the individual and the society. We each contain the society when we accept the value structure of society, when we accept the priorities worked out for us by governments and the states and the political parties. We are expressions of the collective, repeating the pattern created for us, and we feel happy because we are given physical security, economic security, comfort, leisure, entertainment. We have been trained to be obsessed with the idea of security; the idea of tomorrow haunts us much more than the responsibility for today.

Going Beyond Fragmentation

If there is a willingness to face these unpleasant facts, and be with these facts, then we can proceed. If we enter into self-pity and depression, then negativity may lead to cynicism and bitterness against others and bitterness against the system. And releasing such negative energy does not help solve the problems. We have to stick with the facts as they are. Whether we like it or not, we are responsible participants in what is happening in the world.

If we sanction violence in our hearts, we are going to cooperate with whomever is waging war. We are participants because psychologically we sanction violence. If we really want to put an end to warfare, we need to explore deep into the human psyche where the roots of violence have a stronghold. Unless we find the roots of violence, ambition, and jealousy, we will not find our way out of chaos. Failure to eliminate their roots will doom us to endless miserable repetitions of the failures of the past. We must see that the inner and the outer are delicately intertwined in a totality and that we cannot deal with the one successfully without the other. The structures and systems condition the inner consciousness, and the conditionings of the consciousness create the structures and systems. We cannot carve out one part of the relationship, make it bright and beautiful, and ignore the rest. The forces of human societal conditionings are powerfully entrenched; they will not be ignored.

Traditionally, there have been two separate approaches. One approach takes us toward the social, the economic, the political problems, and says, “Look here, unless the economic and political problems are solved, there will be no happiness and no peace, there will be no end to suffering. It is the responsibility of every individual to engage in solving these problems according to some ideology. Turning toward the inner life, the imbalances and impurities of the inner life, that is not so important, that can be taken care of later on, for it is a self-centered, egoistic activity. But the responsibility is toward the society, toward the human race, so keep aside all those problems of meditation and silence, inner sophistication, transformation for inner revolution—keep all that aside. First turn toward this.” And the other approach says, “The political and economic problems cannot be solved unless the individual is transformed totally. Be concerned with your psychological mutation, the inner, radical revolution. The political, the economic, the social problems can wait.”

People have generally followed one or the other of these two conventional approaches: religious groups concerned with inner growth and inner revolution, and social activist groups concerned with social service. Traditionally we have created boundaries, and exploration beyond our home territories has been only superficial. The social activists have staked out their territory, the outer life—the socioeconomic, political structures—and the spiritual people have staked out theirs—the inner world of higher dimensions of consciousness, transcendental experiences, and meditation. The two groups, throughout history, have been contemptuous of each other. The social activists consider the spiritual inquirers to be self-indulgent, and the inquirers consider the activists to be caught in a race of activity, denying the essence of living. Traditional spiritual leaders have divided life into worldly and spiritual, and have insisted that the world is illusion. They said, “This world is maya, is an illusion. So whatever action you take should be in relation to the absolute truth and not in relation to maya.” Thus a religious person sitting in meditation for ten hours a day need not mind the tyranny or the exploitation or the cruelties surrounding him. He would say, “That’s not my responsibility. It’s God’s responsibility. God has created the world. He or She will take care of it.”

There have been superficial blendings, as spiritual groups take up social service work and social activists join religious organizations, but a real integration of social action and spirituality at a deep, innovative level has not yet happened to any significant degree. The history of human development has been fragmentary, and the majority of people have been content with the fragmentation. It has the sanction of society. Each fragment of society has its own set of values. Among many social activists, anger, hatred, violence, bitterness, and cynicism are accepted norms, even though the effectiveness of these motivations for peaceful living has been seriously put in doubt. And indifference to the needs of the poor has had shocking acceptance among generations of spiritual people who considered higher states of consciousness much more significant than the misery of the starving millions.

A new challenge awaits us at the beginning of the twenty-first century: to go beyond fragmentation, to go beyond the incompatible sets of values held even by serious-minded people, to mature beyond the self-righteousness of one’s accepted approaches and be open to total living and total revolution. In this era, to become a spiritual inquirer without social consciousness is a luxury that we can ill afford, and to be a social activist without a scientific understanding of the inner workings of the mind is the worst folly. Neither approach in isolation has had any significant success. There is no question now that an inquirer will have to make an effort to be socially conscious or that an activist will have to be persuaded of the moral crisis in the human psyche, the significance of being attentive to the inner life. The challenge awaiting us is to go much deeper as human beings, to abandon superficial prejudices and preferences, to expand understanding to a global scale, integrating the totality of living, and to become aware of the wholeness of which we are a manifestation.

As we deepen in understanding, the arbitrary divisions between inner and outer disappear. The essence of life, the beauty and grandeur of life, is its wholeness. Life in reality cannot be divided into the inner and the outer, the individual and social. We may make arbitrary divisions for the convenience of collective life, for analysis, but essentially any division between inner and outer has no reality, no meaning.

We have accepted the watertight compartments of society, the fragmentation of living as factual and necessary. We live in relationship to these fragments and accept the internalized divisions—the various roles we play, the contradictory value systems, the opposing motives and priorities—as reality. We are at odds with ourselves internally; we believe that the inner is fundamentally different from the outer, that what is me is quite separate from the not-me, that divisions among people and nations are necessary, and yet we wonder why there are tensions, conflicts, wars in the world. The conflicts begin with minds that believe in fragmentation and are ignorant of wholeness.

A holistic approach is a recognition of the homogeneity and wholeness of life. Life is not fragmented; it is not divided. It cannot be divided into spiritual and material, individual and collective. We cannot create compartments in life—political, economic, social, environmental. Whatever we do or don’t do affects and touches the wholeness, the homogeneity. We are forever organically related to wholeness. We are wholeness, and we move in wholeness. The awareness of oneness refuses to recognize separateness. So the holistic approach de-recognizes all the fragmentation in the name of religion or spirituality, all the compartmentalization in the name of social sciences, all the division in the name of politics, all the separation in the name of ideologies. When we understand the truth, we won’t cling to the false. As soon as we recognize the false as the false, we no longer give any value to it. We de-recognize it in daily living. A psychic and psychological de-recognition of all manner of fragmentation is the beginning of positive social action.

When awareness of the totality, of wholeness, dawns upon the heart, and there is awareness of the relationship of every being to every other, then there is no longer any possibility of taking an exclusive approach to a fragment and getting stuck there. As soon as there is awareness of wholeness, every moment becomes sacred, every movement is sacred. The sense of oneness is no longer an intellectual connection. We will in all our actions be whole, total, natural, without effort. Every action or nonaction will have the perfume of wholeness.

Inner Freedom Is a Social Responsibility

Viewing the world as a large pieced-together collection of fragments, some of which are labeled as friend and others as foe, begins internally. We map out our internal territories with the same positive or negative designations as we do external territories, and wars go on there as they do in the world. Internally, we are divided against ourselves; the emotions want one thing, the intellect another, the impulses of the body yet another, and a conflict takes place which is no different in quality, although it is in scale, from that of the world wars. If we are not related to ourselves in wholeness, is it any surprise that we cannot perceive the wholeness of the world? If we believe ourselves each to be a patched-together, unmatched assortment of desirable and undesirable features, motives at odds with each other, undigested beliefs and prejudices, fears, and insecurities, will we not project all this on the world?

Because the source of human conflict, social injustice, and exploitation is in the human psyche, we must begin there to transform society. We investigate the mind, the human psyche, not as an end in itself, as a self-centered activity, but as an act of compassion for the whole human race. We must move deep to the source of decay in society so that the new structures and social systems we design will have a sufficiently healthy root system that they will have an opportunity to flourish. The structures of society need to be transformed, but the hidden motivations and assumptions on which the structures rest need to be transformed as well. The individual and collective values and motives that give sanction to the injustice and exploitation of modern society must become the focus of change as much as the socioeconomic and political structures. We no longer will be able to allow the motivations and values that underlie personal and collective behavior to remain hidden and unexamined. It serves no lasting purpose for us to change the surface structures and behaviors while the deep foundations remain decadent and unsound.

Those of us who have dedicated our lives to social action have considered our personal morality and ethics, our motives and habits, to be private territory. We not only want our personal motivations and habits cut off from public view, but from our own recognition as well. But in truth, the inner life is not a private or personal thing; it’s very much a social issue. The mind is a result of collective human effort. There is not your mind and my mind; it’s a human mind. It’s a collective human mind, organized and standardized through centuries. The values, the norms, the criteria are patterns of behavior organized by collective groups. There is nothing personal or private about them. We may close the doors to our rooms and feel that nobody knows our thoughts, but what we do in so-called privacy affects the life around us. If we spend our days victimized by negative energies and negative thoughts, if we yield to depression, melancholia, and bitterness, these energies pollute the atmosphere. Where then is privacy? We need to learn, as a social responsibility, to look at the mind as something that has been created collectively and to recognize that our individual expressions are expressions of the human mind.

Inner freedom from the past, from the thought structure, from the organized, standardized collective mind, is absolutely necessary if we are to meet one another without mistrust or distrust, without fear, to look at each other spontaneously, to listen to one another without any inhibition whatsoever. The study of mind and the exploration of inner freedom is not something utopian, is not something self-centered, but it is urgently necessary so that we as human beings can transcend the barriers that regimentation of thought has created between us. Then we will perceive ourselves, each as an unlabeled human being; not an Indian, an American, a capitalist, or a communist—but as a human being, a miniature wholeness. We have not yet learned to do that. We are together on this small planet, and yet we cannot live together. Physically we are near one another, and psychologically we are miles apart. Clearly the social responsibility for arriving at inner freedom is a very relevant issue. We study the mind because we want the harmony of peace to prevail, because we need the joy of love in our hearts, because we care about the quality of life our children will inherit. We do not undertake such study because we want something new and esoteric for the ego, some transcendental experiences to enhance our self-image. We study the mind as a social responsibility; we recognize that the roots of violence, injustice, exploitation, and greed are in the human psyche, and we turn our clear, precise, objective attention there.

We are related organically, and we have to live that relationship. To be attentive to the dynamics of the inner being is not creating a network of escapes to avoid responsibility. It is not continuing a false superiority that I am sensitive and you are not. It is simply recognizing that our personal relationships and collective relationships are miserable affairs, and that these relationships stimulate fear and anxieties and throw us on the defensive. However much we yearn for peace, emotionally we are not mature enough for peace, and our immaturity affects everything we do, every action we take, even the most worthy of actions.

The elimination of inner disorder takes place in the lives of those who are interested in being truly creative, vital, and passionate whole human beings, and who recognize that inner anarchy and chaos drains energy and manifests in shabby, shoddy behavior in society. To be attentive requires tremendous love of living. It is not for those who choose to drift through life or for those who feel that charitable acts in society justify ugly inward ways of being. The total revolution we are examining is not for the timid or the self-righteous. It is for those who love truth more than pretense. It is for those who sincerely, humbly want to find a way out of this mess that we, each one of us, have created out of indifference, carelessness, and lack of moral courage.

The Choice Is Ours

Most of us are not aware of our motivations for living or our priorities for action. We drift with the tides of societal fashions, floating in and out of social concerns at the whim of societal dictates and on the basis of images created by the media or superficial, personal desires to be helpful, useful persons. We are used to living at the surface, afraid of the depths, and therefore our actions and concerns about humanity are shallow, fragile vessels easily damaged. Ultimately most of us are concerned chiefly with our small lives, our collection of sensual pleasures, our personal salvation, and our anxiety about sickness and death, rather than the misery created by collective indifference and callousness.

We have reached the point, however, where we no longer have the luxury to indulge in self-centered comfort and personal acquisition or to escape into religious pursuits at the cost of collective interests. For us there can be no escape, no withdrawal, no private arena in which we can turn our backs on the sorrows of humanity, saying, “I am not responsible. Others have created a mess; let them mend it.” The writing on the world’s wall is plain: “Learn to live together or in separateness you die!” The choice is ours.

The world today forces us to accept, at least intellectually, our oneness, our interrelatedness. And more and more people are awakening to the urgency of arresting the accelerating madness around us. As yet, however, our ways of responding are superficial, unequal to the complexities of the challenge. We do not take or even consider actions that threaten our security or alter our habitual ways of drifting through life. If we continue to live carelessly, indifferently, emphasizing private gain and personal indulgence, we are essentially opting for the suicide of humanity.

We can become involved in many acts of social service, according to our resources, without ever moving one inch from the center of our private interests; in fact, the very act of social service typically enhances self-image and self-centeredness. But we cannot become involved in true social action, which strikes at the roots of problems in the society and in the human psyche, without moving away from ego-centered motivation. We must look deep into the network of personal motivations and discover what our priorities are. Our yearning for peace must be so urgent that we are willing to free ourselves from the immaturity of ego-centered action, willing to grow into the sane maturity required to face the complex challenges that affect our existence. If we are motivated by desire for acceptance either by the dominant culture or the counterculture, clarity of right action and passion of precise purpose will not be there. We may be praised for our contributions, but unless there is a deep awareness of the essence of our lives, a penetrating clarity about the meaning of human existence, our contributions will not penetrate to the roots of human misery.

To be ready for social responsibility, we will have to be mercilessly honest with ourselves. Wherever we are, we are responsible to resist injustice, to be willing to put our comforts, securities, our lives at stake in fearless noncooperation with injustice and exploitation. If we adopt all the habit patterns of the enslaved—the fear, the acceptance of tyranny, the intellectual and emotional blindness to injustice—we deserve the inevitable consequences that are descending upon us in a dark storm cloud. If we are submissive, clinging to our small islands of security, naturally terror will reign. If we are willing to allow all others to perish—the peoples of other countries, races, castes, cultures, religions; the other creatures of the earth—so that we may flourish and endlessly increase our network of pleasures and comforts, obviously we are doomed to rot and decay. The callousness of letting others be abused so that our petty little lives will be undisturbed, so that all the comforts of a lovely home, pleasant meals, and good entertainment will not be threatened, portends doom for us all.

When we come face-to-face with the actualities of human and planetary suffering, what does the powerful moment of truth do to us? Do we retreat into the comforts of theories and defense mechanisms, or are we awakened at the core of our being? Awareness of misery, without defense structures, will naturally lead to action. The heart cannot witness misery without calling the being to action, without activating the force of love. We may not act on a global or national scale; it may be only on a community or neighborhood scale—but act, respond, we must. Social responsibility flowers naturally when we perceive the world without the involvement of the ego-consciousness. When we relate directly to suffering, we are led to understanding and spontaneous action—but when we perceive the world through the ego, we are cut off from direct relationship, from communion that stirs the deepest level of our being.

The Force of Love Is the Force of Total Revolution

A tender, loving concern for all living creatures will need to arise and reign in our hearts if any of us is to survive. And our lives will be truly blessed only when the misery of one is genuinely felt to be the misery of all. The force of love is the force of total revolution. It is the unreleased force, unknown and unexplored as a dynamic for change.

We have moved very far away from love in our collective lives, dangerously near destruction, close to starvation. Perhaps we have the wisdom now, the awareness that love is as essential to human beings as the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Love is the beauty, the delicate mystery, the soul of life, the radiant unspoiled purity that brings spontaneous joy, songs of ecstasy, poems, paintings, dances, dramas to celebrate its indescribable, never-to-be-fully-captured bliss of being. Can we bring love into the marketplaces, into the homes, the schools, the places of business, and transform them completely? You may call it a utopian challenge, but it is the only one that will make a significant difference or that is fully worthy of the potential of whole human beings.

Compassion is a spontaneous movement of wholeness. It is not a studied decision to help the poor, to be kind to the unfortunate. Compassion has a tremendous momentum that naturally, choicelessly moves us to worthy action. It has the force of intelligence, creativity, and the strength of love. Compassion cannot be cultivated; it derives neither from intellectual conviction nor from emotional reaction. It is simply there when the wholeness of life becomes a fact that is truly lived.

Compassion does not manifest itself when we live on the surface of existence, when we try to piece together a comfortable life out of easily available fragments. Compassion requires a plunge to the depths of life—where oneness is reality and divisions merely an illusion. If we dwell at the superficial layers of being, we’ll be overly conscious of the apparent differences in human beings on the physical and mental level, and of the superficial difference in cultures and behavior. If we penetrate to the essentials, however, we will discover that there is nothing fundamental that differentiates any human being from another, or any human being from any other living creature. All are manifestations of life, created with the same life principles and nurtured by the same life-support systems. Oneness is absolute reality; differentiation has only transitory, relative reality.

It is not sufficient that a few in society penetrate to the depths of living and offer fascinating accounts about the oneness of all beings. What is necessary in these critical times is that all sensitive and caring people make a personal discovery of the fact of oneness and allow compassion to flow in their lives. When compassion and realization of oneness becomes the dynamic of human relationship, then humankind will evolve.

We are suffering throughout the world in the darkness of the misery we have created. By believing in the fragmentary and the superficial, we have failed to live together in peace and harmony, and so darkness looms very large on the horizon. It’s in such darkness that common people such as you and I feel the urgency to go deeper, to abandon superficial approaches that are inadequate and to activate the creative forces available to each of us as expressions of wholeness. The vast intelligence that orders the cosmos is available to all. The beauty of life, the wonder of living, is that we share creativity, intelligence, and unlimited potential with the rest of the cosmos. If the universe is vast and mysterious, we are vast and mysterious. If it contains innumerable creative energies, we contain innumerable creative energies. If it has healing energies, we also have healing energies. To realize that we are not simply physical beings on a material planet, but that we are whole beings, each a miniature cosmos, each related to all of life in intimate, profound ways, should radically transform how we perceive ourselves, our environments, our social problems. Nothing can ever be isolated from wholeness.

There is much unexplored potential in each human being. We are not just flesh and bone or an amalgamation of conditionings. If this were so, our future on this planet would not be very bright. But there is infinitely more to life, and each passionate being who dares to explore beyond the fragmentary and superficial into the mystery of totality helps all humanity perceive what it is to be fully human. Revolution, total revolution, implies experimenting with the impossible. And when an individual takes a step in the direction of the new, the impossible, the whole human race travels through that individual.

– Vimala Thakar

This essay was originally posted on:  http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j19/vimala.asp?page=1

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That NOW Which is the Harmony of Reason and Love – J. Krishnamurti

The following was a morning talk given in Ommen, Holland in 1929.

This morning I want to go over the whole of my subject in a condensed form, so that if you will use your keenest intelligence there will be no possibility of misunderstanding. It is very difficult to pierce through the illusion of words. Many of you here understand English and many do not; but even those who understand English will interpret the words in their own manner, and that is where the difficulty lies. I wish it were possible to invent a new language! Please give me your intelligent attention, analyze, criticize and make up your minds. Either what I say is entirely false or it is entirely true. If it is false, then every one of you must shout it down, destroy it. If it is true, then everything else must go, because Truth cannot exist with, cannot be set beside falsehood. Truth and falsehood cannot exist together. My purpose this morning is to make myself perfectly clear, so that you will be able to decide if what I say is true. If it is, then you must shout from the housetops, then you must live it, then it must be the one thing that matters for you. But if it is false, do not make a weak compromise with it -set about to destroy it. You must either be for the Truth entirely, or against it entirely, you cannot compromise. You cannot build in any other manner. You cannot stand in the shade and worship the sun; you must come out of the shade and delight in the sun, rejoice in its purity, so that you yourself become pure, perfect, incorruptible. You cannot compromise, for Truth does not lie in dead hopes.

In the minds of the majority who listen to me, there is an inclination to believe that what I say is purely destructive, and hence negative, that I am all the time merely pulling down, that as I do not put anything in the place of what I pull down I am not constructive. What I say is neither constructive nor destructive, because I speak of Life, and in Life there is neither destruction nor construction. It is the foolish that divide Life into the destructive and the creative. But when I say that certain things are childish, unnecessary, foolish, unessential, false, it is because I wish to make the one essential thing clear, positive, outstanding, and distinctive. On you alone therefore, on every individual alone, depends the destruction and the rebuilding. In the very process of pulling down you are building. That is what you do not realize. As soon as you have withdrawn from all childish things, from all crutches, from all unessential, futile, trivial things, inside you begins to grow that assured certainty, which is above all transient things, which is constant, which is your true measure of understanding. So it is not a matter of destruction, but rather of the desire to discover for yourself the true value, the true meaning, the true purpose of life. To discover that, you must set aside everything that is of little value, as otherwise your mind is perverted, your judgment made crooked.

As the river must go to the sea, must wander through many lands, urged on by the great volume of water behind it, so must every individual, through his own experience, through his own struggles, through his own suffering, ecstasy, rejoicing, enter that sea, which is boundless, limitless, immeasurable, which is Eternity itself. The sea cannot enter the river; the river is too limited. So the river must go to the sea. In like manner I have attained. All your worships, your fears, your anxieties, your ambitions have thrilled me, your hopes, your gurus, your discipleships have held me, but only by putting all these aside have I found. You must come to that Truth unburdened, fearless. You must not come to it with a prejudiced mind, with preconceived ideas, with false hopes, false fears, ambitions and personal glory. By putting aside everything which I held as glory before, I found that which is everlasting, unconditioned, which is Truth itself; by cutting away the past entirely, ruthlessly within myself, I found that which is eternal, which is neither past nor future, which has no beginning, no end, which is Eternal. Having by this means found that which is everlasting -and there is no other means- I would give of that understanding to others.

What is it therefore that all of you, who gather here year after year, are seeking? Please, when I ask this question, put it to yourselves, do not let it pass by. What is it that everyone is seeking? Why do you attend these Camps? To enjoy a pleasure resort? To pass a few days together with those whom you have not met for a whole year? To indulge yourselves in your petty passions? To listen to words of comfort? To be made certain in your doubtful beliefs? What is it you are seeking? What is it that every one of you desires? I will tell you what you desire -not what you desire individually, but what the world is seeking.

Ignorance has no beginning but it has an end, and every one of you is seeking to end that ignorance, because ignorance is a limitation and causes sorrow. To be unaware of the self is ignorance, and knowledge is fully to understand the self. Ignorance is the intermingling of the false and the real. Being uncertain, being doubtful, you are not sure of what is true and what is false, of what is essential and what is transient, of what is bitter and what is sweet. To know what is true, to know what is false; to recognize the truth in the true, and the falsehood in the false, is true knowledge of the self. That knowledge of the self creates no barriers and no limitations, and hence gives lasting happiness. You are seeking the power to destroy for yourselves all the limitations that are placed upon you by yourself, and thereby attain freedom, which is happiness. Anything that leads to freedom, to poise, to the boundless, immeasurable vastness of Life leads essentially to Truth. Anything which creates a barrier, a weakness, anything which imposes a bondage, a limitation, a belief, anything which acts as a crutch, which leads to reliance on another, is false, and will not lead you to Truth. So the intermingling of the true (which is the choice of the essential that shall set you free) and the false (which places a limitation on you and hence binds you) is ignorance. The falsehoods, the unessentials, the childishnesses, the weaknesses on which you depend, the fears which you take to your heart, cannot lead you to freedom, and hence they are false, they are a limitation to be set aside.

This constant struggle to discriminate between what is real and what is false, what is bondage and what is freedom, what is misery and what is happiness, this struggle, pain, this constant battle is going on within each one. It is this problem you must solve. It is this to which you must pay attention, give your concentration, and not to the trivial things created by man, not the forms that the perverted life creates. They will exist but they are of little importance. What you have to concern yourself with is how and in what manner you will distinguish for yourself, without the authority of another, that which is true and that which is false. When you have decided for yourself you must no longer play with them, you must be either firmly for one or for the other. There can be no compromise, for compromise cannot exist in spirituality.

What is it for which everyone in the world is struggling, groping, fighting, crying? It is to be sure for himself, to grow for himself, eternally, to acquire that inward peace which cannot be disturbed either by the false or by the true. This is what everyone is seeking, and it is to this that you must give your minds, your hearts, your whole concentration. I tell you that the only manner in which you can find it is as I have found it, by setting aside all trivial things -worships, gurus, fears, paths, everything- to discover this one thing. If you want that happiness you must do likewise. I am not urging you to do it. It is not my authority that should impel you. It is because you are unhappy, because your faces are shrouded with misery, because there are tears, and laughter that is bound by sorrow, that you must seek.

There are two elements in every human being -this is not a dogma or a philosophy or a theory- one eternal and the other progressive. You must concern yourself with changing the progressive self into the eternal. In every human being, in every one of you there is this progressive self that is struggling -struggling to advance to that which is immeasurable, limitless, eternal. In making that progressive self incorruptible, by the union with that which is eternal in you, lies the acquisition of Truth. I am dividing the self into the eternal and the progressive purely for explanation, but do not translate it into other words and make a theory, a dogma, a complicated system out of it, and thereby destroy what you are seeking. The whole process of existence consists in changing the progressive into the eternal. The progressive self that is in limitation, created by itself, is the cause of sorrow. The progressive self, because it is small, because it chooses the unessential, the false, the limited, is constantly creating barriers. That progressive self is constantly asserting itself, and that assertion will exist, must exist, until there is that union with the eternal.

This progressive self is ever seeking that eternity, which is not the eternity of the individual, but of the whole, which is not limited to individuals, but is the consummation of all life, individual as well as universal. The progressive self is in process of advancing, is all the time climbing, through struggle, by the destruction of barriers, and in that advancement, in that climb, it is creating, by its self-assertion, echoes. Those echoes return to it as sorrow, pain, and pleasure. That self-assertion of the progressive self will always exist and is bound to exist, until you are made one with the eternal. Existence itself, that is, the life that you are leading, is self-assertion, and that very self-assertion in limitation creates sorrow and that sorrow perverts your judgement, complicates your life. You are constantly led astray by things that are of no value, by things that are unessential, by things that place greater limitations on your search. If your search is not constantly watched over, guided, helped, encouraged, you are caught up in things that are trivial, absurd, and childish. Therefore, I say again, you cannot escape from the self-assertion, which is the cause of sorrow, but that self-assertion can be made so vast that it becomes boundless. Because what you perceive you desire. Your desire is transformed by that which you perceive. If your perception is narrow, limited, then your desires will be small. But if your perception of life is limitless, vast, whole, complete, then your desire becomes whole, vast, limitless.

The self-assertion of the “I” which does not create sorrow is timeless. The present, the immediate now, is ever the past. The moment I have done something it is over, it belongs to the past, it is dead. Every action, which takes place in the present, instantly becomes the past, and to that past belongs whatever you have understood of the progressive self. Whatever you have understood, whatever you have dominated, conquered, is over, it belongs to the past, it is dead, finished with.

All that you have understood and conquered, dominated brings you nearer to that future which is NOW. To that past which is the ever-changing present, belongs birth, acquisition, renunciation, all the qualities that you have developed. The moment you understand something of the progressive self it is over, it is finished with and belongs to the past. It is dead, dust, and nothing of it remains except that you are nearer to eternity.

The present being the ever-changing past, there remains the future, to which you all look with such delight, with such hopes, with such variation of longing that you create theories, innumerable philosophies, which have very little importance, because, as I will show you, the future is not real.

To that future, which is the mystery in which you take so much delight, to that future belong what remains of the unsolved, progressive self. Whatever you have not solved of the progressive self is a mystery, and in that mystery you are caught. That is the future, because that is the mystery of the self, which you have not conquered, which you have not gained, attained and solved.

So it remains a mystery. To the mystery of the future, which is the unsolved “I”, belongs death, of which you are so afraid. Directly you understand, there is no birth, no death. Whatever remains to be understood has not come to an end. Whatever has not come to an end is a mystery, and in that mystery you place death. Because you do not understand it, it belongs to that unsolved portion of the “I” and from that insoluble mystery comes fear -fear of death, fear of the entanglements of love (love which is not returned, jealousy, envy), fear of loneliness, fear of friendship, fear of all that is of the future and belongs to the unsolved “I”. You should seek that happiness you desire neither in the future nor in the past, but now. What is the good of being happy in ten years’ time? What is the good of being companionable, full of friendship in ten years’ time if you are lonely now, if every moment creates tears, sorrow, and misery? When you are hungry you want to be satisfied immediately, now.

To solve the mystery of the unsolved “I”, of the self, you cannot look to the future, because the future, if you have not solved it, is never-ending; it is continuous. But to the man who understands, the solution is at that point where the past and the present and the future meet, which is now. The moment you understand, there is no mystery.

The eternity, which the progressive self is seeking, is neither in the past nor in the future. If it is neither in the past nor in the future, it is now. Now is the moment of eternity. When you understand that, you have transcended all laws, limitations, karma and reincarnation. These, though they may be facts, have no value, because you are living in the eternal.

You cannot solve your problems in the future; your fears, your anxieties, your ambitions, your deaths and births cannot be solved either in the future or in the past, you must solve them NOW. That progressive self, which is constantly seeking, through its limitations, through its sorrow, to find eternity, must be made incorruptible NOW. Not with whether you will be corruptible or incorruptible in the future, but with whether you are corruptible or incorruptible NOW must you concern yourself, because you are concerned with sorrow now, and not in the future. You must make that progressive self incorruptible, strong, whole, complete in the immediate NOW, which is the moment of eternity.

As you should have nothing to do with the past or with the future (I am afraid you have, but that does not matter!), you must concentrate your whole attention, focus every action, every thought, towards the incorruptibility of the mind and the heart, because there is the seat of self. The moment you are incorruptible, you will be a light and cast no shadow, so that all happiness, all rejoicing will be concentrated in you; then you can truly help, and give light to those around you who dwell in darkness.

To live in that immediate NOW, which is eternity you must withdraw from all trivial things that belong to the past or to the future. Your dead hopes, your false theories, your goals, everything must go, and you must live -as the flower lives, giving its perfume to everyone- fully concentrated in that moment of time, in that NOW which is neither the future nor the past, which is neither distant nor near, that NOW which is the harmony of reason and of love.

That NOW is Truth, because in it is the whole consummation of life. To dwell in that NOW is true creation, for creation is poise, it is absolute, unconditioned, it is the consummation of all life. If you would dwell in that eternity which is now, you must look neither to the future nor to the past, but with the desire to make that progressive self incorruptible, free, unconditioned, you must live concentrated, focused, acute, in every action, in every thought, in every love. Because that NOW exists where ever you are; that NOW abides in each one, whole, complete, unconditioned. It is that eternity which the progressive self, bound in limitation which is sorrow, is ever seeking.

– J. Krishnamurti

From Morning Talk, Ommen, Holland, 1929
Collection of Jiddu Krishnamurti Early Writings

This text can be found at:   http://jiddu-krishnamurti.net/en/1927-1928-1929-early-writings/jiddu-krishnamurti.php

To see more posts of J. Krishnamurti see:   https://o-meditation.com/category/j-krishnamurti/

To read more of J. Krishnamurti see:   https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/j-krishnamurti/

The Flame – J. Krishnamurti

The following was a talk given in 1928.

Some years ago I was talking with a great friend of mine, one who is not altogether of my way of thinking, though he agrees with me in many things -but he is not quite so uncompromising as I am. He said to me that I was as sweet as the meandering waters without the necessary fire for the destruction of useless things, and the creation of essential things. And he ended up by saying: If you would do anything in life, you must have the white flame to carry through your purpose. Because you will be opposed in your ideas, the sweet meandering waters will be dammed and turned to other purposes of irrigation rather than give life to the parched lands. I have been thinking considerably about what he said during the last two years, and wondering if the time has come for the white flame to burn. I hold that the white flame of which my friend spoke is necessary, but it is also necessary to have patience.

This spring in Ojai I was watching a sparrow, building her nest just outside my sleeping-porch. It was the most precarious nest, because it was built in the sunblind. Any person who came along and unconsciously pulled up that awning would necessarily have destroyed the nest. I watched it day after day, and saw the nest coming into being, the immense efforts of the mother bird, its gigantic struggles to create the lovely nest, in which it laid three eggs successively, night after night. In the building of that nest in that precarious position and in the bringing forth of the young birds in spite of the carelessness of human beings and the cruelty of other animals, that little sparrow was contending against the whole world in its creation. It had the white flame, necessary to contend, struggle and assert itself. And that sparrow gave me the necessary understanding that the white flame comes, not by a sudden onrush but by patience, by continual assertion of the essential truth, by continually contending against the small things of life, against narrowness of belief and small understanding. It would have been very easy for me to have hurled myself against the wall of orthodoxy and tradition and sets of beliefs some years ago, but it would have been unwise, because the wall was much too strong; there were very few people who really understood, and therefore would have helped to create a breach in that wall. But now, since I have been here, that white flame has grown strong within me, and I will not ever again compromise with anything, I will never try to reconcile the things which are not of the truth, I, personally, will never put aside the eternal for the sake of the passing.

I have been wondering how many of you have the flame, how many of you are like the steel, forged by your own hands, by your own understanding and by your own contention against life. I am now certain for myself, I am certain of that of which I speak. Even though everyone disagrees with me, though everyone contends against me, though everyone misunderstands that which I say. The more there is misunderstanding, the more there is divergence of opinion, the more certain I am. I would that you could be likewise, not because of what I say, but because you have perceived for yourself. Then that knowledge and wisdom shall give stability to your understanding, so that nothing can destroy it, so that you will constantly have the white flame that shall burn away the dross, the useless things of life, and destroy your innumerable crutches and the divisions which hold people apart. The sweet meandering waters are very pleasant to behold and delightful to sail upon, but if you would go out to sea where there are many waves, storms and tempests, you will have to leave the sweet meandering waters behind, you will have to put them aside and venture forth to discover your own strength, to contend with your own wisdom and knowledge against those things which are unessential and unimportant. For that one needs to have courage, not the stupid courage born out of lack of thought, but courage born out of understanding, courage born out of intelligence. As perhaps some of you agree with me, and see and feel and know and understand with me: if you will not compromise with the truth, then the realization of happiness and the bringing about of that happiness in the world will become a certainty. But if you who have perceived, who have known, who have considered and understood with me, have not the white flame but are merely meandering as the sweet waters, you will not create, you will not stand against the old beliefs and traditions. The time for sweet meandering is over, not for you perhaps, but for me. Not for those who have not understood, but for those who have seen, who have known, who have understood; not for the people who are all the time concerned with reconciliation and compromise, but for those who have invited doubt and have conquered doubt, and who have set aside reconciliation.

You cannot reconcile with truth -truth cannot be twisted, warped to your purpose. You will never bend truth to your particular understanding, but rather you will have to unbend your understanding to the truth; make straight those things which are crooked in order to understand the truth. In order to straighten out those things which have been made crooked, you need a flame. If you would bend the steel to a particular shape, you heat it; so if you would unbend and make straight those things in yourself, which are crooked, you must be heated by the white-hot flame of truth. You must be like the sea, against which nothing shall stand, whose waters are in continual motion, never still, always destroying those barriers that men create to hold them back. If a person is dying, and you would revive him and bring him back to life, your sweet fear of hurting him does not hold you back from inviting the surgeon who shall heal. It is no true affection that is afraid to hurt; no love that will not contend against false sentiment, vain hopes and fleeting pleasures. If you who have seen will stand for truth without compromise, we shall go forward together; if not, you will be on the sweet meandering waters, sailing smoothly along, with your particular pleasures and your delightful, smooth reconciliation, and Truth and I will be far away.

What is the use of you all agreeing with me, sympathizing with me, smiling with delight at my sayings, if there is not the true alteration of your mind and heart, if there is no straightening of those things that are crooked? I tell you that Truth is much too serious to play with; it is much too dangerous to have one part of your heart in the temple of truth and another part in the temple of unrealities and half-truths. For that way is the way of sorrow, is the way of contention, is the way of vain beliefs which shall decay. If you have not that white flame, which comes from understanding, which is born out of patience, you will not enter into that kingdom where Truth abides. As a sweet flower that decays and perishes, so shall be he who merely holds to sweet enjoyments, but if you would be as the tree that withstands every storm and dances in every breeze, you must delight in truth and walk in the light of truth.

– J. Krishnamurti

From Collection of Jiddu Krishnamurti Early Writing, 1928

The entire text can be found at:   http://jiddu-krishnamurti.net/en/1927-1928-1929-early-writings/jiddu-krishnamurti.php

To see more posts of J. Krishnamurti see:   https://o-meditation.com/category/j-krishnamurti/

To read more of J. Krishnamurti see:   https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/j-krishnamurti/

A Cup of Tea with Vimala Thakar

Vimala Thakar’s house in Mt. Abu

It was at Ajja’s ashram in Puttur, Karnataka, that Vimala Thakar’s name first came up. We were told that a woman who lived in Mt. Abu had become enlightened through J. Krishnamurti and that she was available for visitors.

On our way north through India we went through Rajasthan. We arrived in Mt. Abu and chose a guesthouse from Lonely Planet. After settling in we informed the manager that we were interested in visiting Vimala Thakar and asked if he knew of her. We had chosen well, the guesthouse was located less than 100 meters from her house and the manager himself was a friend of hers.

He called and made arrangements for an appointment for us the following day.

We arrived and were shown into a small sitting room where we met Vimalaji. A tremendous force of presence surrounded her. We introduced ourselves and told her that we were Osho sannyasins. She spoke to each of us about the names Osho had given us. Vimalaji asked us about our travels in India and in general about the life we were living allowing life itself to lead the way.

Over tea Vimalaji told us that Osho had invited her to Jabalpur to speak at the university where he was chair of the Philosophy Department. Osho took her out on the Narmada river in a boat and then to the Kwality Ice Cream shop in town. She said she chided him about his tastes in food because they were not good for his health and that she felt like an older sister but that Rajneeshji was Rajneeshji, meaning that he wasn’t one for listening to advice.  Vimalji also said that she was sad for what had happened to him in Oregon.

I told her that I didn’t know much about her but had heard the story concerning Krishnamurti and her experience and wanted to ask her about it. She proceeded to relate the story that you will find in her book On an Eternal Journey. She stated that if one wants to say that the transformation that happened to her was through the grace of Krishnaji, she was fine with that. I will let her tell you the story so in that way you will not need to rely on my memory. This story is also related in an interview Vimalji gave to Chris Parish for the magazine What Is Enlightenment. There is a link below.

When our time was up Vimalji gave us four of her books. The giving was a very deliberate act and seemed pregnant with significance. I had never read any of her books but because of this event I paid special attention and kept a look out for what might jump out at me and shout “This! This! This is for you.” Here is one such statement:

In meditation, there is no movement. Life has no movement: it is only matter that has movement. Movement and energy are the property of matter. Life is is-ness without any movement whatsoever. That which remains without movement can be called neither individual nor universal. It has no center and no circumference. Intellectual activity has a center, the me, the self, the ego. Awareness as the activity of the intelligence has the whole human body, the human individual, as the center. Beyond awareness, the individual is not at the center. Nothing moves out of the individual. Nothing emanates or radiates from the person. Just as in the state of observation there is no ego-centered activity, so in the state of awareness, the whole cerebral organ does not function. Beyond awareness, the individual entity and the movements contained in the individual entity are simply not there. I wish that I could verbalize this more fully. The Movement of Mind.

This has proved to be extremely helpful. Thank you, Vimalaji.

Two of her books are easily available in the west through Rodmell Press. The book I mentioned above, On an Eternal Journey, I have not been able to find copies for sale, but you can download it from the link above.


This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.

Here is the link for the Chris Parish interview Set Them on Fire.

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.